Saying Sorry

The inspiration to write a children's book based on the National Apology came when I recognised there were very few resources relevant to children to help them understand this important part of Australia's history. In the last ten years, topics such as assimilation, the Stolen Generation and reconciliation have been included in the national school curriculum, but still there was very little material to support this teaching.

Illustrating Rural Australia

When I first read the manuscript for The Flying Optometrist, it reminded me of driving from Perth to Kalgoorlie many years ago. It was my first visit to Australia from my home in England, and I remember the overwhelming sense of space, vast distances and vivid colours. Wherever we stopped, there was a little shop and friendly local people; I’ve learnt throughout my years of living here that this is typical of rural Australia.

Spinning Tops and Gumdrops

The inspiration for Spinning Tops and Gumdrops came to me while watching my grandchildren at play. I grew up in a country town in the 1950s, a time when billycarts, milkshakes, double-dares, Ginger Meggs and the sixpenny Saturday morning serials at Hoyts were our main preoccupations. The outskirts of town marked the extent of our horizons. The city was somewhere we might visit one day, and the wider world merely a rumour.

Running Away to the Circus

When I was a child in the 1950s, running away to the circus was an exciting prospect. For children, the circus was an exotic place, where you dressed up in sparkling costumes, travelled around the country in colourful caravans, played with dangerous animals and performed daring feats. 

Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Poster

Attention self-publishers!

To anyone who has written a book: Congratulations! As someone who agonised over every word in this short blog post, I salute those with the inspiration and the commitment to write an entire book.

But now what?

How do you get people to find and read your masterpiece?

What sells a book sells a book, same in traditional or self-publishing. You gotta shake your tail feathers

- Joni Rodgers (author)

Blues Brothers Shake Your Tail Feather

Writing the history of fishing

When I heard what the National Library was looking for I couldn't believe my luck! Here was a request to write history (my day job) about fishing (my moonlighting activity). I guess the question was, how? How to capture that sense of wonder across time, of changing practices and attitudes to Australia and its environment.

Embracing digital change

Ipad sitting on shelf of books

In February 2016, near the end of a bright, hot summer, the National Library of Australia welcomed long-anticipated changes to the Copyright Act with genuine excitement. For the first time in its history, the Library could at last collect electronic publications under the legal deposit provisions of the Act.

Confessions of a History Nerd

As a teenager, history was one of my favourite school subjects. While my girlfriends were reading about fashion and make-up, I subscribed to an illustrated history magazine! No doubt that early contact with retelling history in an accessible way—combining factual ‘storytelling' with historical images such as political cartoons, posters, newspaper cuttings and photographs—influenced the way I now present history to young people through my Heritage Heroes series.

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